The Dallas Cowboys have had a dismal 2020 season. Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury and the offensive has lost several starters as well. However, the biggest disappointment has been the Cowboy's defense.
The organization spent the offseason adding veteran defensive pieces like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Gerald McCoy, and Dontari Poe. Unfortunately, all of those guys were gone from the roster by October. Granted, the Cowboys have had several defensive players go on injured reserve as well, but 12 games into the season there should be some sort of identity with the unit and that simply hasn't been the case. An already bad defense looked lost and defeated against the Baltimore Ravens.
Coming into Week 13, the Cowboys ranked 32nd against the run, and Tuesday night was no different. Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards all had over 70 yards rushing. The Ravens 294 rushing yards as a team was the fourth time a Cowboys opponent has gained over 200 yards on the ground in 2020.
Lamar Jackson up the middle for 37-yard rushing TD. Cowboys' league-worst run D can't make the stop
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 9, 2020
The Cowboys were also dead last in points per game (32.6) coming into Tuesday night. The Raven's 34 points were the seventh time this season a team has scored that many against the Cowboys, just two shy of tying the all-time record set by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.
The three main things any defense wants to accomplish is to stop the run, get after the quarterback, and not give up a lot of points. The Cowboys haven't done any of these things well in 2020. Opponents rush for a league-high 168 yards per game against the Cowboys defense. Their 20th in sacks with 22 and allow a league-worst 32.8 points per game.
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who looked completely out of place on Jackson's 37-yard touchdown run, talked to the media about how bad of a defensive effort he and his teammates gave on Tuesday night.
“Obviously, it was not a very good night at all and I think we've just got to stick together,” Vander Esch said. “We've got to lean on each other and trust each other and have confidence going into the game that we're going to go out there and everybody's going to do their job, including myself.”
Even if the Cowboys do find some kind of groove defensively in the last four games it's probably too little too late. They're two games behind the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team who are both playing their best football of the season.
The 2021 NFL Draft may be the next time any Cowboys fan has anything to be excited about, especially on defense.